If you are an Executive Director, you know that successful nonprofit fundraising depends on a lot more than just your own skills. You know that a well integrated team should be in place, but it can often feel like you’re the only one bearing the load.
Are there ways to overcome this and build your team? Turn your ear, and we’ll let you in on some secret strategies to maximize the effectiveness of key relationships and equip you with tools to pave the way toward fundraising success.
Create Opportunities for Board Members to Make Connections
Fundraising is an important part of your Board’s role, but members can get tired of nagging friends and colleagues for money. Encourage them to do something different, and possibly even more helpful. As nonprofit expert Bill Hoffman suggests, clearly inform the Board of the organization’s specific needs and request that they open doors to contacts whose interests align with your needs.
Give members clear examples of how they can establish these connections for you: bring a friend to volunteer at your next event, invite colleagues to your organization to learn about partnering in a workplace volunteer program or ask a friend to be a guest at your program. Assure members that you would like them only to open the door for you to make the ask.
Team up with Your Development Director
If you have a Development Director, resolve to become a powerful team with him or her. While tugs of war often exist between the Executive Director and the Development Director, nonprofit fundraising coach Joan Garry urges EDs to implement a strategic nonprofit fundraising plan with the DD. Such a plan should allow the ED to indicate his or her vision and goals, and welcome the DD’s feedback.
Then, together, the ED and the DD can design a strategy. This team approach is the best way to identify goals and create a clear roadmap to fundraising success.
Set Your “Ask” up for Success
When you meet with a prospective donor, lay the foundation of a smooth, professional “ask” by keeping three major factors in mind: don’t force giving, be specific and make your ask seriously. As Garry advises, never tell the prospect that he or she “should” donate. The compulsion to give should be felt naturally by the prospect, not forced upon him or her by an eager asker. Help the prospect understand how his or her gift will make an impact.
Ask for a specific number, and explain exactly how this will help. For instance, “Will you donate $25,000 to help provide basic medical care to our shelter’s women in crisis?” is better than, “Will you support our shelter with a donation?” Take this ask seriously, avoiding casualness and humor. Informal approaches strike the wrong chord with prospects; as Garry says, “there is nothing casual or nonchalant” about a decision to give.
Adopt Mobile Nonprofit Fundraising Technology
In your quest to keep overhead low, be careful not to leave your digital technologies in the Dark Ages. Nonprofits need to maintain reasonable technological advances in order to operate efficiently, boost donations and advance their missions. Simply by adopting mobile technology, you can optimize your organization’s ability to analyze nonprofit fundraising strategies, track donations and more.
Plus, you will remove barriers between donors and your organization; donors will have an easy way to engage with you and enjoy hassle-free giving, and you will see an increase in overall donations.